The UEFA European Championship (Ten Facts)

The new trophy for the UEFA Euro 2008The UEFA European Championship is a football competition held every four years featuring the national teams of European countries. The following is a list of ten facts and figures, but the emphasis is on the tournament's history, not details like the quickest goal!

1. The modern UEFA European Championship has two parts: a series of qualifying groups played in the two years preceding its second part, a finals tournament. The finals are staged every four years in a different country.

2. The competition began in 1960 as the European Nations' Cup, the brainchild of Henri Delaunay. Then the final tournament consisted of four teams who survived a knockout competition played over the previous 2 years.

3. The 1960 competition was almost canceled for lack of support after many countries left it late to apply.

4. The name 'UEFA European Championship' was adopted in 1968, the same year as knock-out preliminaries were replaced by the modern qualifying round.

5. There have been ten winners: Soviet Union (1960), Spain (1964), Italy (1968), Germany (as the Federal Republic of Germany/West Germany in 1972, 1980 and as Germany in 1996), Czechoslovakia (1976), France (1984, 2000), Netherlands (1988), Denmark (1992) and Greece (2004).

6. The finals tournament has been played in 13 countries: France (1960, 1984), Spain (1964), Italy (1968, 1980), Belgium (1972), Yugoslavia (1976), Germany (1988), Sweden (1992), England (1996), Belgium and the Netherlands (joint hosts 2000), Portugal (2004), Austria and Switzerland (joint hosts 2008).

7. Denmark initially failed to qualify for the 1992 finals, but were invited to play when Yugoslavia were thrown out because of their civil war; Denmark won.

8. The four-team final tournament was expanded to eight teams in 1980 and sixteen in 1996, with 48 taking part in qualifiers.

9. The largest attendance in competition history was a qualifier between England and Scotland at Hampden Park for the 1968 competition. 130,711 were there.

10. In 1960 the Spanish team were withdrawn by their right-wing government rather than play the impressive, and communist, Russians.
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